The House of Representatives has lost one of its most courageous voices.
New York Rep. Louise Slaughter has passed away at the age of 88.
Slaughter had been hospitalized since being injured in a fall at her home last week.
She was the oldest sitting member of Congress.
News of Slaughter’s death was confirmed today by her chief of staff Liam Fitzsimmons.
“To have met Louise Slaughter is to have known a force of nature,” Fitzsimmons said in a statement issued to several media outlets.
Indeed, Slaughter was a true rarity in the House of Representatives – a stalwart ideologue and shrewd negotiator who was also beloved by her colleagues on both sides of the aisle.
First elected to represent New York’s 25th congressional district in 1986, Slaughter played key roles in shaping several historic pieces of legislation.
She co-authored the Violence Against Women Act in 1994, but she might be best remembered for her role in helping to build congressional support for Obamacare as Rules Committee chairwoman in 2010.
Slaughter was a longtime ally of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who paid tribute to her late friend in a statement issued moments ago:
“With her passing, the Congressional community has lost a beloved leader and a cherished friend,” Pelosi said.
“Her strong example inspired countless young women to know their power, and seek their rightful place at the head of the decision-making table.”
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan ordered the flags above the Capitol Building lowered to half mast in Slaughter’s honor:
“She was unrelenting in fighting for her ideas and the people back home in Western New York,” Ryan said today.
“But really, the thing that I keep coming back to is how she was tough, but unfailingly gracious. She was simply great.”
In the hours since the congresswoman’s death, Slaughter’s name has become a trending topic on Twitter thanks to thousands of heartfelt tributes from colleagues and admirers from all over the political spectrum.